Posted by: DarkEyedJunc0 | January 8, 2011

Snowy Saturday Birding Adventures

After a great morning cross-country skiing 101 at Thompson Park with my friend Mary (who has the patience of a saint,) we headed back to our cars only to stumble upon Northern Flickers cheerfully playing in a light snowfall. Two of the flickers were  sitting in nests in a tree next to the Visitor Center parking lot.  Yet another flicker was at the base of a tree (almost ground level) knocking away with great intensity  – such a neat bird to watch!

Afterwards, I decided to drive down to 7 Presidents beach in Long Branch to see if I could find the crossbills everyone is posting about. When I arrived, I ran into someone who said there was a whole gang searching for the birds, who have spent the week going from the beach pines to pines and a feeder in the condos across the street. I decided I would park my car and walk the perimeter with the other birders. No sooner did I arrive, that everyone was pulling out in a caravan, and the guy who told me of the search efforts mentioned there was an alert that the birds were at Roosevelt Ave. in Deal. So, in true birder fashion, I decided to tag along.  We arrived at Roosevelt Ave, and within minutes, a who’s who in NJ birding emerged from their respective cars. Linda Mack, Scott Barnes, Rob Fanning and eventually Tom Boyle were there. While I tried to summons my birding partner Linda, the next hour would become a great show.


searching for the red crossbill Roosevelt Ave, Deal



Two birds flew over, with only their flight notes to identify them as crossbills. Scott Barnes weeded through a group of gulls on the jetty and found a second year Iceland Gull while a Coopers sat perched in a tree assuring our crossbills would not be comfortable landing.

The group made the decision to move north two blocks which proved to be successful! Two of the most brilliant red crossbills sat in pine tree feasting on pinecone seeds. The birds, who hail from Boreal Canada “may never have seen humans” said Barnes. As such, they sat patiently in the tree as we binoculared, scoped, photographed and digiscoped the unique looking birds.

Afterwards, we caravaned around Lake Takanassee and back to 7 Presidents to try to find the white-winged crossbill (unsuccessfully.) And from there, we all parted ways.

Funny how some of life’s unplanned events can turn into the best memories.



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